Posted by: hatzihatzi | December 21, 2011

Food glorious food

I’m entertained by the fact that thus far into my blogging, I have had two posts named after songs from musicals. This entertains me because, generally speaking, I hate musicals. And My Fair Lady bears a lot of my ire. Oliver, however, I acted in when I was in forth grade or so. (But seriously, don’t get me started on this. Especially Fiddler on the Roof. Tevye can kiss my half-goy ass.) (nb, this is not to say I don’t appreciate the music from some musicals.)

What foods taste like the holidays to you?

My grandmother’s (dad’s mom) house always smelled like ginger. Maybe this is because we really only went there for Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving (and he can go to Hell…story for another time) when she did a lot of cooking. I was surprised when my house smelled like my grandmother’s house (pleasantly so) this past Thanksgiving when I made a lot of her dishes for the family. So to me, holidays taste like turkey, stuffing with lots of sage, stewed tomatoes, and mincemeat pie. Which means my husband will say he has nothing to eat because he is so unfamiliar with these foods. Whenever we go to a family party, I have to pack my own food for him.

When my in-laws first came to America to meet my family, my mother said she would make a luxion kugel for them.  You know, a Jewish food, she explained.  Something they would be familiar with.  Something I’m struggling to teach, well, seemingly everyone, is that not every Jew is Ashkenazi.  My husband’s family is from Tunisia and Iran. Luxion kugel is as foreign to them as foul mudammes is to my mother.  Falafel and humus might be more of a culinary middle ground, but they don’t taste like the holidays to me.

A friend of mine showed me this article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2075237/Why-Western-Asian-foods-taste-different-Study-reveals-pair-flavours-totally-different-ways.html. In sum, foods from different cultures taste different not only because different ingredients may be used, but more importantly because different pairing of tastes are used. I find this to be fascinating and to completely explain why when I cook my house smells like my grandmother’s but when my mother-in-law cooks its smells like Tehran (pleasantly so) even though she’s using ingredients I already had in my house.

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Responses

  1. I usually end up baking macaroni and cheese for all holidays (because my dad asks for it), so the smell of cheese in the oven is now synonymous with feast days.

    • I don’t know why the thought of Christmas mac n cheese makes me so happy, but it does.

      • If the thought of cheesy deliciousness didn’t make you happy, I’d think there was something wrong with you. :p


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